Spain vs France Prediction Betting Odds, Picks
- Spain saw off European champions Italy on their own patch on Wednesday
- France came from 2-0 down to beat Belgium 3-2 in the second semi-final
- This could be the sort of final that underscores the Nations League’s success
Spain vs France Odds
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Spain Continue to Evolve as Luis Enrique Improves Balance
Spain grew stronger as this summer’s European Championship wore on. They were toothless in their opening two games and did not find the back of the net in either, but greater ruthlessness in the final third was certainly discernible when they struck five past each of Slovakia and Croatia. Spain then squeezed past Switzerland and were arguably the better team against Italy in the semi-finals, only to suffer a heartbreaking defeat on penalties.
Luis Enrique’s side got their revenge on Wednesday, winning 2-1 against the European champions to reach the final of the second edition of the Nations League. The red card shown to Leo Bonucci in the first half clearly had a significant influence on proceedings. Italy were always going to struggle with 10 men, particularly as Spain are excellent at keeping the ball away from their opponents. But la Roja had been the better team even before the sending-off, and they took full advantage of the extra player thereafter.
Indeed, there was much more incision and penetration to Spain’s passing when it was still 11 versus 11 than there had been in the early stages of Euro 2020. Luis Enrique’s side continues to evolve and they now look to have discovered a better balance, with their possession play no longer so ponderous. Marcos Alonso, Mikel Oyarzabal and Pablo Sarabia injected more directness to their play on Wednesday, while the two-goal Ferran Torres looks like a better fit up front than Alvaro Morata, whose various qualities are too often undermined by profligate finishing.
Spain are not the finished article just yet but they are clearly moving in the right direction under Luis Enrique. Victory in the Nations League final would provide tangible evidence of their progress ahead of the World Cup in Qatar in just over 12 months’ time.
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Flawed France’s Star Power Means They Can Still Beat Anyone
Didier Deschamps desperately needed a statement win and he just about got one on Thursday night. It was a close-run thing, though: Belgium stormed into a 2-0 lead at the Allianz Stadium in Turin and looked set to book a place in Sunday’s final, only for France to hit back with three goals in the second half. Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe both found the net to set les Bleus on their way, before Theo Hernandez scored his first goal for his country to win the match in the 90th minute.
As the pattern of scoring suggests, this was not a faultless display from France. They were sloppy in the first half both with and without the ball, and could hardly grumble about going two goals behind. It took them a while to find their passing rhythm, while the star-studded front three of Benzema, Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann struggled to link up to any meaningful effect. At the other end France never looked comfortable defending against Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.
Yet les Bleus deserve credit for digging deep in the second period to turn the game around. Benzema and Mbappe were outstanding, and the former’s return to the national team after a six-year absence has added another dimension to the world champions’ attack.
Paul Pogba was tremendous too, continuing to excel for his country where he has not always done so for his club. France were much sharper collectively after the break, and they always looked like the most likely winners after Mbappe had levelled the score with 20 minutes left to play.
France Might Be More Decisive in the Final Third on Sunday
The introduction of the Nations League has proved to be an inspired decision by UEFA. The tournament might not have the prestige of the World Cup or the European Championship, but both Spain and France will be desperate to get their hands on the trophy having come this far. Thankfully for the neutral, Sunday’s match has all the ingredients to be an entertaining encounter.
Perhaps the Nations League’s place in the priority list actually encourages better soccer. World Cup and European Championship finals can often be tense, cagey affairs because the stakes are too high. The Nations League is not quite as significant, and the teams may feel freer to take risks and go on the front foot.
Spain are likely to dominate possession at the San Siro, with France focused on absorbing pressure and then breaking forward with pace in transition. We could therefore see a situation in which Spain appear to be on top without ever really troubling Hugo Lloris, while France go without the ball for long stretches but then create high quality chances on the break.
That is certainly how Deschamps will hope the match pans out. Spain have made great progress since the 2018 World Cup, but they still do not have France’s individual quality in the final third. That could prove the main difference between the sides on Sunday, so back les Bleus to beat la Roja in the Nations League final.
How to Watch Spain vs France
|Spain vs France Information|
|Teams||Spain vs France|
|Location||San Siro, Milan, Italy|
|Time||Sunday, 10 October 2021, 14.45 PM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]